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“Not what it appeared to be” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Occidental Grand Papagayo

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Occidental Grand Papagayo
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Gulf of Papagayo
Michigan
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Not what it appeared to be”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

My first impression after arriving was disappointing compared to what I was expecting, but ....it got better. I had to get rid of the expectation of a 5-star mega resort that I somehow thought I was getting. Once I realized what the place actually had to offer, and take advantage of it, I began to enjoy it. The wild life on the property is unlike anything you're going to get anywhere. The vistas your going to get, although, I believe, are somewhat limited, are pretty amazing. I did a little homework to make sure I got a good room with a view. It wasn't the best available, but it was fine. The food option are limited, but consider that you're coming to a place with 169 rooms (or so), not 500+. Oh, also, the service was very good. For the most part, the staff had great attitudes. The ala carte restaurants, included in the all-inclusive, left something to be desired.

Room Tip: If at all possible, ask for these rooms in advance ... 2208 or 2304. There may be other good ones, b...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,008 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (534)
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English first
Edmonton, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

The resort has alot of restrictions, only people who are staying in certain rooms can go the some certain areas...there is only one restaurant and often a line to get in. (there is also 2 a la carte restaurants but you must book WAY ahead of time, they are very small)

You can't order room service unless you are paying for the more expensive rooms, which is weird at an all inclusive resort i thought everything was free? There is no food after 11pm, so they tell you to order pizza from in town, after you order 2 pizzas and a cab from town the cost comes to about $70 USD. For an all inclusive resort you would think they would be a bit more accomodating.

Also, no alcohol after 12pm as well. As for nightly entertainment, there is slim to nothing.

The only upside of this resort was an employee named Daniel. He was the most accomodating thing there. Other than that, this resort needed to change many of its ways.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, May 14, 2013
Dear olesia h,

Please allow me to express my apologies for the lack of service you experienced during your stay. We are committed to providing our guests with an enjoyable vacation and it appears that we fell short of this. We understand the importance of an incredible dining experience, therefore I’ve addressed your review with our restaurant manager as to enhance our quality standards and priovide a more efiicient service. Also, please know that we use a reservation system for the a la carte restaurants in order to provide a high quality service to our guests and we are always open to welcome guests if we have tables available.

We appreciate you sharing your concerns and hope you will allow us the opportunity to welcome you again.

Sincerely,
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Shelburne, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Spent 7 days with family at this resort and had lots of fun. Great rooms however Oceanview rooms view are blocked by trees. Went in the off season at the end of August and was not crowded and had lots of towels at the pool. Can do with the availability of food after 10:30 pm. Great pool and beach is very calm. Be careful of day trips and return time as dinner will not be available on your return. Did the one day to Nicaragua and had issues on return time. Very nice staff and very helpful. Check out Carlos and Steven and the pool bar and Ho Wah at the main dining room also the manager at the a la carte restaurants.

Room Tip: Book rooms near to the pool as it is close to dining area.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
goleta
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

My husband and I traveled from our beautiful community of Santa Barbara, CA in the winter of 2013 for a 1 wk get away that would not take us too far, but far enough to relax, enjoy, and experience some warm, cozy, weather. We wanted just an R & R holiday, no excursions or too much extra activities, though plenty were available to take part in, we just wanted to hang out, read, sleep in, take naps, lounge about, enjoy room service on occasion, snorkel, eat well, (and that we did, the food was fantastic), dance at nite and enjoy the company of new aquaintences (we met people from Italy, France, Greece, Russia, New England, & lots from Canada), the entertainment in the evenings was absolutely outstanding, the room comfy, out view was gorgeous overlooking the gulf of Papagayo, we were in an upscale deluxe room. The staff absolutely delightful, helpful, gracious, a real pleasure. We did end up hiring a private taxi/van to escort us into town to experience the local communities' biannual fiestas in Liberia one nite, that was fun, and one afternoon a trip into Coco's beach, the closest beach town to withdraw some cash from the bank and do a little shopping & sight seeing, it was a fun beach town, another day we went off for the day to explore some of the beaches along the NW coast of CR, we saw Conchal, Flamingo, Tamarindo & Panama, our driver was delightful, and informative regarding the communities, vegetation, and history of the area. This part of Costa Rica is very different from most of the country, this is a very dry, arrid, cattle, ranch region, a little humid, but nothing like the rest of CR, which is very lush, tropical, green, with many colors, vegetation, scents, rivers, waterfall, rainforests and such. So if you only experience this part of CR, make sure to travel further south and see the rest of the country, it is very different and very green. We enjoyed our time away in GranPapagayo very much and highly recommend it, if you want to just have a relaxing time, party, experience excursions, have a great culinary experience, go boating, or just lay low, it is all available to you, on our last day, I enjoyed a yummy full body massage and some jewelry.

Room Tip: The Royal Deluxe is the way to go!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casper, Wyoming, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

I have always thought it to be ironic for anyone to complain about a resort, you are staying in a resort, life can't be so rough right? But that being said I learned my lesson here. To begin with I did my research in picking a hotel looking at the property and prices and location , everywhere had at least one disgruntled customer and dispute reviews this resort seemed to be the best value . I booked our trip about two months in advance, to stay at this resort the duration of our trip. About two weeks later while looking into excursions I realized that everything we were looking forward to the most was in the Arenal region (3.5 hours away) so I called occidental to adjust our stays so we could stay a few nights in that region . When I called they couldn't seem to make the change and had a long list of excuses as to why even though their info says changes can be made up to 3 days before reservation date without penalty .One of the excuses being that I didn't call them directly to book , I booked it directly on their web page. After many attempts I got a manager at customer service who made the change and removed the one night that I asked be taken off our stay. I was told a refund would take 21 days ( any other hotel in the region takes 3 business days), and received any confirmation info I would need.
Fast forward to our trip and after a wonderful stay in the Arenal region we arrived at the grand papagayo. I was happy when I walked in to this beautiful hotel ( or it seemed ) and we were brought welcome drinks . From that point it took 45 minutes to " check in " with a "personal concierge " while the explain the hotel map ,the yoga classes etc. finally get to our room and neither the fan or the air conditioning work, being on the coast in 97 degrees and being from Wyoming we weren't annoyed but decided after unpacking we would let the front desk know. Time comes to do so and the person at the desk couldn't help us , and neither could the next 4 desks , no offered to call maintenance . While we were up there we bought a pre paid phone card to call our 4 year old at home . to bad neither international phone was working at that time and the phones in the room don't let you do international calls even though the say they do. Luckily one was repaired the next day.
The next morning we went to a concierge breakfast ( was told that all visitors had to do it , of course it is a time share sales .. I suggest just not showing up ) but we were fine with listening to the presentation to get the tour of the resort. ( heads up they don't tell you it lasts two hours ) we we finished the presentation they take you to the sales office to try and sell you . The " manager " up there was the rudest person I came across in this otherwise friendly country. Refused to tell us the cost , and made us guess at the cost , by then I was annoyed and tried to walk out and he says " oh we'll I don't give a crap if you join or not , I don't need the psychology of why you won't " ( because we asked the cost, which is about. 8-10 grand up front .
Great 3 hour start to our time there. There is no wifi for guests unless you pay to be in the vacation club. The lobby claims to have it but I never got it to work there. At onetime we asked a desk lobby employee to please pull up a number that we needed for the airline before we left because of the lack of wifi and were told he doesn't get the Internet on that computer. 30 minutes later we asked a new employee ( same desk and computer) they pulled it right up ;) we made the best of our trip and did partake in the resort activities . Snorkel, pool volley etc. and as long as you do all of the activities there enough to do . The resort itself is completely unhelpful with wanting to do anything on their beach, ok beach but anything other that snorkel you will get excursions from locals and salesmen on the beach. we rented a jet ski for one hour for $170 , but heard the couple in front of us get charged $250 and another $120,so bargain. These people also tell you you have to walk up to the resort snack bar and bring them food and drinks when you are done. ( snackbar is decent ) Grab two drinks and bring them with you as there are none by the beach. In other reviews I say complaints of drinks being watered down. At home my husband can have 2 beers before he is done. We are not drinkers. Each of us had about. 12 cocktails a days without getting tipsy here, but we watched them make our drinks and even ordered a shot and they do not seem watered down , but maybe a difference of 5000 ft from home played a part , so others might consider this.
Our bathtub did not hold water , so no relaxing bath. My husband and I are very easy going and do not need pampered , but we stayed in a hotel for $50 a night in arenal that was clean and had excellent customer service ( most important to us ) our bathroom had large spider webs, drywall chunks coming out all around the door and was fairly dirty . Our room was not turned over for two days , which we are fine with but for $300 a night I guess you expect at least a clean room .
At the end of the day I will admit that resorts may not be my favorite experience when traveling abroad , we will continue in the future to spend more money seeing the country instead of playing pool volley in closed walls , but we thought just relaxing WOULD have been nice. Also after being frustrated I though I would check out the spa. Got a spa pedicure $50 + tip. Very hard metal chair to sit in , I don't need a massage while I sit but my butt shouldn't hurt. If you do paraffin your foot is put directly in the wax melter while plugged in and I blistered.
Now since we have been home I have never seen the one night refund, called customer service and there were never any notes on the account my confirmation number meant nothing to them and was told to fax bank statements etc. I called back today with my banks transaction number ( I am not sending them statements ) but low and behold that number is no longer a working number and Occidentals other number will only help you if you paid 10 grand to be a club member .
I think that it is one of the cheaper stays in the area , and a resort is a resort once you get inside. If you go and eat and sit by the pool and expect zero customer device and participate in the activities you can still make it a good trip.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra Alcázar U, Social Media Coordinator at Occidental Grand Papagayo, responded to this review, May 14, 2013
Dear Silverlining307,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you encountered during your stay with us and with our billing system. I stand ready to personally assist you with this situation. Please feel free to contact me directly at socialmedia@mx.occidentalhotels.com. I will gladly review your statement and changes on your reservation.

With all my deepest apologies and warmest regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

The resort and scenery were absolutely gorgeous! I have to say probably the best part of the trip was meeting JD from JD Adventures who took care of our excursions from the hotel. My girlfriend and I met him the first day of our vacation, on the beach at the hotel. JD set up trips zip-lining, jet skiing, banana boating and took us on a tour of 6 local beaches, ending in Tamarindo for a late lunch where he set up a Mariachi Band to play for us!!!!! It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!! He also took time out of his schedule to show us around town and take us out for some night life in Coco Beach. I have to say meeting JD took my vacation from great to AMAZING. He and I have remained in connect and plan on visiting him in Costa Rica again... Make it a point to go down to the beach and meet up with him!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

The views are great, its located at the base of a mountain. But I'm here to tell you what I wish someone told me before I booked.

1. If you stay on the ground level make sure your balcony deck door is locked. The raccoons know how to open the sliding glass door. It's cute but scary when you're in bed watching TV.

2. FOOD IS TERRIBLE. Snack bar, buffet - everything is bad. Originally when we checked in they said we had to call between the hours of 8am-3pm to book reservations for the Asian & Italian restaurant on site but you had to call the morning of the day you wanted a reservation. They would not book us in advance. Every morning we called everything was booked. Finally another couple had told us you were allowed to book in advance so WTF? We left without ever trying these two places out because we couldn't get in.

3. No garbage cans in the room or bathroom. Called and asked about it frequently but nothing

4. No shower door or curtain. Shower area is painted black and the tub is cracked.

5. We took the recommendation of a hotel employee for a restaurant in Coco Beach. Don't listen to them, avoid at all costs.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Occidental Grand Papagayo

Address: Playa Buena, 485000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Gulf of Papagayo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Occidental Grand Papagayo 4*
Number of rooms: 169
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the unspoiled northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica(home to wild parrots and endagered sea turtles), striking volcanic cliffs dramatically descend to powdery sand beaches and crystalline coves. Elegant and respectfully situaded within this breathtaking haven in the five-star Occidental Grand papagayo. Reverently aligned with its majestic surroundings, the resort offers a new kind of luxury all inclusive vacation. It is nothing short of extraordinary.Couples, families and friends who visit experience premiun service, discover gourmand dining and select from an impressive gamut of activities and sports. The resor´s natural setting and luxury amenities also make it the ideal locale for an incomparable wedding or honeymoon. In short, the Occidental Grand Papagayo is a perfect vacation spot for anyone and any reason. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Occidental Grand Papagayo Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Occidental Grand Papagayo Gulf Of
Occidental Grand Papagayo Costa Rica
Grande Papagayo Costa Rica
Grand Papagayo Liberia

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